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Manchester United could be handed an opportunity to sign transfer target Benjamin Pavard on a free transfer, as Bayern Munich clarify their stance on letting the France international leave this summer. The Red Devils had viewed Pavard as a contender to replace Harry Maguire, but that deal was thrown into doubt after the England man’s move to West Ham collapsed.
Sky Sports Germany have claimed that Pavard has held conversations with Bayern CEO Jan-Christian Dreesden over his future, having been subject of transfer interest from both United and Inter Milan. The club previously insisted that he was a non-transferable player, but now have softened their stance and are willing to sell but only at an inflated price.
The Bundesliga champions are seeking more than £34million excluding add-ons, though Inter have offered just £20m and United are yet to make a bid. Erik ten Hag’s side have been hamstrung financially following the signings of Mason Mount, Rasmus Hojlund and Andre Onana amid their ongoing takeover process and Financial Fair Play concerns, meaning a bid meeting Bayern’s demands is unlikely without significant exits.
Whether Inter are prepared to up their offer to Bayern’s new asking price remains to be seen, but if no suitable offer is submitted then the German club’s chiefs are considering the possibility of letting Pavard leave on a free transfer in 2024 when his contract expires – meaning that United could land him without paying a fee.
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They would be able to speak with the 27-year-old in January regarding a free transfer, which would represent a major coup should they be able to pull off such a deal. If Maguire is ready to stay at Old Trafford another year then focusing their efforts on signing Pavard in 2024 could make financial sense.
Bayern boss Thomas Tuchel, meanwhile, has insisted that Pavard has not yet stated his desire to leave the club. “Benji hasn’t communicated to me that he really wants to leave,” Tuchel said in his press conference on Thursday. “As of now, there hasn’t been an offer. He’s our player and gets full support. Until that changes, we’re fully counting on him.”
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Unless another club are willing to stump up a minimum of £34m then United have a chance of signing Pavard on a free transfer next summer, his ability to play at both right-back and centre-back will appeal to Erik ten Hag who could be looking to strengthen both areas.
The Dutch boss has been unable to settle on a first-choice between Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Diogo Dalot in his first year at Old Trafford and could sign Pavard or another player to fill that spot.
While in the heart of defence Maguire could once again look to move on as he remains out of favour, Pavard could help solve both problems for free.
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